Have you ever thought about what it would be like to have more than one baby? When we were trying for our first child together, my husband was wishing for twins so that we could have two and be done. I, on the other hand, did not want that. It was a terrifying thought to me, as I’m sure most people can relate to. Having one baby is hard enough, why would anyone wish two at the same time upon themselves? Well, at the same time we found out that our first was a twin, we also found out that we had lost the second baby. This was our first encounter with vanishing twin syndrome, but little did we know at the time, it would not be our last.
TRYING TO CONCEIVE
We knew when it was time to try for our last baby, that we were going to need the help from a fertility specialist, just as we had done with our first son. However, this time was different. I didn’t have the same job which covered IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) the first time, which is about $30,000. So we had to figure something else out. Thankfully, we found the most amazing doctor who just happened to be right down the road from our house. (If you want tips on how to find a doctor check out that blog post here.)
So, he ran some tests, and could tell that while I technically wasn’t considered geriatric, my ovaries were acting as though they were. Simply put, this means that each month I wasn’t releasing as many eggs as I should have been. He gave me a list of vitamins that I needed to start taking right away to try to combat my body acting like it was older than it was. Then, he decided that we should do the first IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) with the assistance of only using Clomid, which is a popular oral fertility medication. This did nothing for my body.
So the very next cycle, we introduced all the injectables (shots), which I had already been used to from having IVF with my first pregnancy. That second cycle I peed on the stick when it was time, and got a positive test and was BEYOND elated! I called the doctor’s office so they could schedule me for my blood test just to confirm and to make sure that my HCG levels (pregnancy hormone) continued to climb. When I got home from the doctor that same day, I started bleeding. Not just spotting, but actually bleeding. I would later find out that the same day I found out I was pregnant with that baby, I also lost them.
Now I had to wait to do another cycle. Although, I also wasn’t emotionally ready to get right back to trying. I’m not going to go into great detail about this, but you can read more about my miscarriages here. Two months later, I decided I was ready. This was going to be my last cycle and all that I could emotionally handle. In March 2018 we had our final IUI procedure.
SURPISE, IT’S TRIPLETS!!!!
Ten days after that final IUI, we would find out that we were pregnant, again! This time my numbers were skyrocketing, and because of that I was so incredibly sick. Just after I turned 6 weeks pregnant, I woke up one Sunday morning and was bleeding. Here we go again, I thought to myself. This is what happened last time, but I don’t understand my numbers were so good this time around! I yet again, called my doctor’s office in a panic, who told me because of the amount of blood I should probably head to the ER just to be on the safe side.
When we got there, they told me that I had to get an ultrasound to make sure that everything looked alright, and to make sure nothing unusual was causing my abnormal bleeding. This is where things start getting interesting. During the ultrasound the sonographer, whose face said it all by the way, looked at me and asked, “Did they tell you that when you do fertility treatments your chances of multiples are increased?” I replied, “Oh yeah, I knew that was always a possibility. Are there two in there?” I was not at all ready for her reply. I was semi prepared to hear that there were two, what I wasn’t prepared for was, “Well, I’m actually counting THREE!”
I honestly, can’t even tell you what happened after she said that, I think I cried, but I can’t remember. I was then wheeled back to my room in the ER where my husband, Martin, had been waiting. What I need you to know before I go any further is that, while we planned this pregnancy as much as one can, Martin was nervous to have another baby because he is over 8 years older than me and was scared he was getting too old to have a newborn. I did NOT want to be the one who had to tell him we weren’t having one, not two, but THREE babies! I didn’t even tell him immediately when I got back to the room, because I honestly didn’t know how. It was one thing for us to be surprised together, but it was another thing for me to have to be the one to tell him. Eventually, I came around and had to tell him. He could tell by the look on my face that it was multiples, as I recall he even guessed by my reaction that it was triplets.
I couldn’t stop crying. Not because I didn’t want my babies, ALL of them, but because I didn’t know how I could possibly be a good mom to all of my kids if I had three babies at one time. If all three were crying, how could I possibly console each of them at one time when I only had two arms. Not only that, but our first son together, Deklan, had been the center of my attention his whole life (6 years at the time) and I knew bringing a new baby home would change things up a bit, but three babies were going to rock his entire world!!
It took a while for the doctor to come in and formally give us the results of the ultrasound, as he had to consult with my fertility doctor, since triplets weren’t something they saw every day in the ER. When he finally came in to give us the results, he advised us that there were in fact three babies, but that my fertility doctor wanted us to understand that with the heavy bleeding and the fact that there were triplets it was highly likely I could lose one of them. I was told to follow up the next day in their office.
As instructed, I was seen by my doctor the next day. They did an ultrasound and checked my bloodwork, yet again. My bloodwork came back excellent; however, the ultrasound didn’t go nearly as well. This was the first time I was able to see my babies’ hearts beating, which by the way is the absolute most magical thing in the world, but the excitement and elation was quickly taken over by fear. My doctor informed me that while each baby had a heartbeat, one of them was much weaker than the other two. Remember, how I mentioned at the beginning of this post that we would see vanishing twin syndrome a second time? Here we were, seven years later, going through a similar situation.
Over the course of the next few weeks we watched through frequent ultrasounds as our sweet Baby B slowly became weaker and weaker until their little heart finally stopped beating. All of my losses had been hard, but this one was the hardest. This was the first loss where I had actually seen the baby’s heart beat inside me. It was also the first time I was panicked about the pregnancy. I wanted that baby with every ounce of my being, but I was just scared. Is that why I lost them? Hello mom guilt, you always creep in at the most unwelcomed times.
Not only was being pregnant with multiples SO much harder on my body, but I also had to deal with the loss of a baby, yet again, who I would never get the opportunity to meet. I never experienced morning sickness with my first pregnancy and just couldn’t understand what it could possibly be like. When they say that every pregnancy is completely different, they aren’t kidding! Thank goodness I knew that I was pregnant with multiples and knew that is what was causing me to be so ill because if not for that I would have thought I was on my death bed. It wasn’t just the constant throwing up and nausea, but my body was constantly aching. It didn’t help that I had an extremely large cyst thanks to the fertility drugs I had been taken to get pregnant.
To say that I was on edge my entire pregnancy, would be the understatement of the century. I looked forward to every single milestone. I couldn’t wait for that first big milestone of making it to 12 weeks, and as the days grew closer and closer I felt a weight being lifted. That is, until, I woke up one morning gushing blood, again.
Once again, it was a Sunday morning and my doctor’s office wasn’t open so we had to head back to the Emergency Room. Where the same sonographer who had just a month and a half prior told me I was having triplets, was there to check my babies for a second time. She remembered me and jokingly told me that the day we found out we were having triplets she had listened closely for a Code Blue emergency announcement after I had told my husband about the babies.
The emergency room doctor’s etiquette could definitely use some work. He less than empathetically, looked me in the eye and said, “There’s nothing we can do, you’re less than 20 weeks so we wouldn’t even try to save them at this point, just follow up with your doctor.” I’m not saying that I wanted him to lie to me, but a little empathy for a terrified mom would have gone a long way in this situation. At the followup with my doctor the next day I found out that the babies were perfectly healthy, and that spontaneous bleeding was relatively common in pregnancy with more than one baby.
Every week that passed, was such a blessing, but also one that was met with an extreme amount of research. I would constantly look up viability for premature babies and would look at the percentage for the survival rate each week. I could not wait to get to a point in my pregnancy where I felt like I could breathe. After that final bleeding scare, I had a relatively healthy pregnancy and the morning sickness slowly drifted away.
Then, at 31 weeks to the day, I had gone to the bathroom to go pee. When I was done I stood up and had a trickle of water run down my leg. With my first baby, my water broke like in the scene of a movie. My husband who was across the room HEARD the gush of water breaking with my first. So, this time I thought the trickle of water was odd, but didn’t think too much more of it, until overnight and the next morning I started having minor contraction-like pains.
Remember, I was a nervous wreck this entire pregnancy, so when I had the slightest concern that I may be in preterm labor, I told my husband that we had to go to the Emergency Room. So he got ready for work, we dropped our son off at school and headed for the hospital. After filling out approximately 500 pages of paperwork (kidding), I was admitted. Our nurse was amazing, and as she checked my cervix and started running all the tests that my doctor had ordered she told me that she didn’t think that it looked like preterm labor. That is, until the test that tells the doctors if there is amniotic fluid present came back positive. That’s when we heard the words I had been terrified to hear, “You aren’t going anywhere until you deliver those babies.”
I don’t know why it was so hard to hear that and why I was so surprised. I had rushed to the hospital for the simple fact I believed I might be in preterm labor, but after thinking about it, I think it was more for the peace of mind. I don’t think I actually ever thought I would be having the babies. So after a couple of doses of magnesium, steroid shots, and antibiotic after antibiotic to prevent an infection since my waters were leaking, I was on strict hospital bedrest for three weeks!
If you ever find yourself in this situation, know that it will be okay. Honestly, I had never wanted twins, I felt like I couldn’t possibly be the best mom to two newborns at the same time. But, I could not have been more wrong. These two babies have been such a blessing. They have taught me how to be strong, and how to keep moving when things get tough. Because of them, I will never give up and I will always strive to be better, for myself and for my kids. We may have had a very rocky road leading up to where we are now, but Maverick and Jamison, you were so worth the wait!